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Some in Westminster Club Dislike City Move : Recreation: Officials transferred the Seniors Fun Club meetings to a smaller room. Some say they’re ‘packed like sardines,’ but the club president says only a few are complaining about the new location.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Andrea Youngjohn, 95, says attending the Tuesday meetings of the Westminster Seniors Fun Club isn’t much fun anymore.

“We’re packed like sardines,” said Youngjohn, one of several club members who are upset that Community Services Department officials “forced them out” of a large room in the Community Services building that the club had been using for the past 15 years.

The club, which has about 160 members, now meets at the dining room of the adjacent Senior Center that Youngjohn and other club members describe as too small and too noisy. And it lacks amenities such as free coffee and tea, they said.

But club President Billie Godsey said that an “overwhelming majority” of club members are happy with the move and the complaints come from a “small minority” of disgruntled members.

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“It’s always hard to move,” Godsey said. “But we’re getting adjusted. It’s a warmer and friendlier place. We’re more comfortable here. The people who are complaining are impossible to please.”

Betty Goyne, the city’s senior services supervisor, said that several seniors groups, including the American Assn. of Retired Persons, were asked to hold their meetings at the Senior Center instead of at the Community Services building.

“It was a twofold thing,” Goyne said. “We wanted to consolidate all seniors programs at the Senior Center, and we wanted to free up the room (at the Community Services building) for other community groups.”

While seniors used the room--which accommodates more than 200 people--without charge, other community groups are charged from $18 to $73 an hour, according to Charlene Lent, assistant community services director.

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The room also can be rented for weddings and business meetings, she said.

Community Services Director Penny Loomer said that the city is planning to renovate the Civic Center complex on Westminster Boulevard, including the Community Services building. The renovation was scheduled to begin last year, but the project has been delayed while city officials try to find the money to finance it.

Judy Perryman, a former Westminster Seniors Fun Club treasurer, said club members were told of the proposed renovation last year, but she said they were forced to move even though the renovation has not yet been carried out.

“All we ask is a decent place to meet,” Perryman said. “Give our room back, because we’ve used it for 15 years.”

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Myrtle Funderburg, 85, said club members are worried that the Senior Center dining room may be unsafe. “Our club is too big for that little room,” she said.

But Godsey said the dining room, which seats 148 people, is just the right size for the weekly meetings, attended by about 90 people.

“The Fire Department and city officials will never jeopardize the lives of anyone by overcrowding the meeting room,” Godsey said.


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